An ongoing series of events dedicated to enhancing grass-fed livestock production
SFA is dedicated to improving education and awareness of the benefits of pasture techniques within our farmer-to-farmer network. We do that in a variety of ways:
- We launched the Midwest Soil Health Summit to address the growing evidence that cover cropping and livestock integration principles can be both profitable and scalable. Click here to read about 2014-15 MSHS keynote Gabe Brown in the New York Times.
- We hold grazing-based education at our SFA Annual Conference, including the Advanced Grazing Workshop in 2013 that paved the way for the Midwest Soil Health Summit.
- Our Keep Cattle in Minnesota project, in conjunction with NRCS, will work to sustain Minnesota’s beef and dairy industries and environment.
- With help from Minnesota NRCS and the Pasture Project, we published the Beginning Grazier Handbook, available for free download here.
- Our yearly farm-and-food session at the Mill City Farmers Market spreads information about grass-based farming and grassfed meat preparation to a consumer audience.
- We work with the Minnesota Dairy Initiative to enhance and improve sustainable dairy production in Minnesota
For questions regarding our GrazeFest series, contact SFA Livestock and Grazing Specialist Kent Solberg at 1.844.922.5573 Ext. 701 or gro.n1441315562m-afs1441315562@tnek1441315562.
SFA’s Third Annual Midwest Soil Health Summit Feb. 17-18, 2016, in Alexandria, Minn.
SFA’s third annual Midwest Soil Health Summit, will be held Feb. 17-18, 2016, at Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria. The Summit will convene some of the most innovative farmers and researchers in the Upper Midwest for two days of networking, speakers, panel discussions and breakout sessions – all geared at improving the health of your soil.
‘Fencing Innovations for Soil Health’ Field Day is Sept. 18 in Marshall
Fencing innovations have made the integration of livestock into cover cropping systems easier than ever, and the Sustainable Farming Association is hosting a free field day to show how these strategies can result in improved soil health and enhanced profitability.
Join Kent Solberg, SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 18 as he installs a semi-permanent fence on the Allen Duetz farm in Marshall. Solberg, who has 20 years personal and professional fence design and installation experience, will also lead a discussion of the cover crops planted and how Duetz intends to use them to build soil health and improve his farm profitability. Lunch is included; leather gloves, work boots and safety glasses are highly recommended.
The event is free, but an RSVP is appreciated for planning purposes below or by contacting Solberg at gro.n1441315562m-afs1441315562@tnek1441315562 or 1.844.922.5573, Ext. 701.
SFA Field Day: Cover Crops & Livestock Integration
Join the Sustainable Farming Association for a tour of four central Minnesota farms and a look at the results of a three-year Minnesota Department of Agriculture Sustainable Ag Demonstration Grant project on various applications of cover crops in livestock operations.
The event, set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, begins at the farm of Kent and Linda Solberg, 18618 County Rd. 23, Verndale. Watch for the SFA signs.
The tour group will travel via a coach bus to the three other farms: Larry Heitkamp’s farm in Sebeka, Dan and Rosie Middendorf’s farm near Verndale, and Marcus Edin’s farm near Staples.
Cost is $10; lunch is provided. Register below, or to pay at the door RSVP to 844.922.5573, Ext. 701 by Sept. 15 – leave a voice message including attendee names.
Research finds organic milk healthier than conventional
A new study evaluating organic milk produced in the U.S. finds that organic milk has about 62 percent more omega-3s, compared to milk produced by cows on conventional dairy farms. Read the story here.
Click here to download SFA’s new Cover Crop Fact Sheet, a one-page guide to the basics of cover cropping by SFA Livestock and Grazing Coordinator Kent Solberg. Learn the basics of cover cropping, view examples of major crop types, and find Kent’s recommended resources.
Minnesota Dairy Initiative is here to help
The Minnesota Dairy Initiative is a program that promotes a healthy and vibrant dairy industry in Minnesota. SFA is a project partner with MDI; to learn more, click here.
SFA compiled our Beginning Grazier Handbook as part of the Keep Cattle in Minnesota Project, with support from the Minnesota Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Pasture Project. Click here to download.
From NRCS, this video, “The Science of Soil Health: Without Carrot or Stick” is a short interview with Penn State researcher Dr. Sjoerd Duiker that details how dairy farmers in his state are using cover crops to improve their business – without regulations or subsidies. Watch it here.
For more information on grazing, visit the following sites:
- Animal Welfare Approved
- American Grassfed
- Burleigh County Soil and Conservation District
- Eating Fresh
- Eat Wild
- Grassfed Exchange
- Pasture Project
- Practical Farmers of Iowa
- Download a whitepaper, “Integrated Crop Livestock Systems in the U.S. Corn Belt”, by R. Marc Sulk & Benjamin F. Tracy of Ohio State University.
- Click this link for American Grassfed’s A Meat Terminology Primer for Consumers.
- Click this link for Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Grazing Cover Crops Fact Sheet (2013)
- Purdue University and the Midwest Cover Crops Council have released the second edition of the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide. To learn more, click here.
- From Practical Farmers of Iowa, this article: “New research by a multi-state team of agronomists working with the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) suggests that up to 19 million acres of corn and soybean ground in the upper Mississippi River Basin has the potential to incorporate cover crops, which would decrease nitrogen entering the Gulf of Mexico by up to 400 million pounds.”
Contacts for Sustainable Farming Association:
Kent Solberg, Livestock & Grazing Specialist
18618 Co. Rd.23
Verndale, MN 56481
1.844.922.5573 Ext. 701
Jason Walker, Communications & Membership Coordinator
4924 Upton Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55410
1.844.922.5573 Ext. 702
Shifting the focus of agriculture from maximum yields to maximum soil health quality is critical to the sustainability of agriculture in Minnesota, the Upper Midwest, the United States and globally. SFA is committed to continued soil health programming, including programs addressing the integration of cover crops, row crops and livestock grazing. We will continue the pursuit of funding and programs that foster the development of soil health building practices for the long term.